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Back to work and not pumping enough :(

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
pak!!

I need opinions/advice/support....I started back to work last Thurs, so this is my 5th day. I am not pumping enough during the day to keep up with dd's intake and I'm watching my freezer stash quickly go away.

I'm already taking fenugreek and blessed thistle, although I forgot this morning because I'm having trouble keeping track of everything. I'm sure the stress is affecting my supply. I've also added pumping sessions in the morning and at night. and i'm going to start eating oatmeal every morning. Am I forgetting anything???

I'm really hoping it doesn't come to this....but if I can't keep up, is it better to supplement with formula or should I start dd on solids early? right now she's 4.5 months....i might be able to keep up breastmilk until she's 5 months.

tia!!!
post #2 of 17
How much are you pumping? What kind of pump are you using? Can you also pump on the weekend?
post #3 of 17
How much do you pump in one session? Are you using a double or single?

My supply dwindled down when i first went back to work, but I was able to quickly pick it back up by pumping on my days off. I did so pretty vigilantely at first, but now I do it once or twice per day when I'm off.

Once, you boost your freezer supply, try pumping enough in one day for the next day and a little to add to your freezer stash. That way your'e not dipping into it everyday and you have a nice buffer.
post #4 of 17
I returned to work when DD was 2.5 months old. My supply also began to dwindle when she was around 4-5 months old. We just supplemented with formula, so she was still getting mostly breast milk.

I think it would be better to wait until 6 months to start solids, that way the baby's gut is mature enough for them. Just keep doing what you can to provide her with BM, since it truly is the best food!

My DD turns a year old next week, and I'm still pumping twice a day and nursing her once at night. She isn't getting as much as she used to, but it's better than no BM. Plus, she's eating a lot of solids (along with formula). But I'm still glad I've been able to keep giving her at least some BM every day for a whole year. I must add that she has been a very healthy baby!

Good luck to you!
post #5 of 17
Here is some good information about how to bottle-feed the breastfed baby, as many day care providers and nannies are used to formula-fed babies, who require more and more formula as they get older, unlike breastmilk, which changes as baby grows:
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/bottle-feeding.html

It is very easy to overfeed from the bottle, so make sure the care provider is pacing bottle feedings rather than just letting baby guzzle down the whole thing.

Babies consume about an ounce of breastmilk per hour, for an average of about 25 oz. in 24 hours. This is some more good info about how much milk your baby needs: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/milkcalc.html
post #6 of 17
I'd start drinking a huge amount of water, at least half your body weight in ounces plus the amount in ounces that your baby drinks. So if you weigh 140 and your baby drinks about 30 oz a day you'd drink 100oz of water.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PancakesMancakes View Post
I'd start drinking a huge amount of water, at least half your body weight in ounces plus the amount in ounces that your baby drinks. So if you weigh 140 and your baby drinks about 30 oz a day you'd drink 100oz of water.
It is not necessary to drink excessive amounts of water. Drink to thirst.

http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/mo...es-fluids.html
post #8 of 17
Are you pumping in the am before going to work, even if you LO nurses? Can you pump at least once in the am on the weekends to add to your stash?

Doing both of those things helped SO MUCH and took the pressure off to pump X amount during the day at work. Especially if I was busy and didn't have time to pump 2-3 times.

Also, for me, looking at pics and watching video of DD on my cellphone helped letdown and affected how much I produced per session...

And formula is better than starting solids early, IMO.
post #9 of 17
I'd advise you to take a look at your pump. My pumping amount went down dramatically and the last thing i checked was the membranes on the pump. For some reason i didn't realize that those little things are the key to being able to pump correctly. could that be it? they get worn and need to be replaced from time to time.
i tend to think that fluid intake does in fact make a difference, too.
another trick is to keep pumping for a bit after your milk is done. that's the same signal your baby uses to ramp up your production. it tells your body that what you've made isn't enough.
post #10 of 17
I sympathize with you.

I'd supplement with formula over starting solids early.

Are you taking "enough" fenugeek and thistle?

I just started back to work also (first full week). And pumping while at work every two hours and first thing in the morning did not get me enough milk. So I added in pumping after he goes down for the night (and again before I go to bed). Hopefully that will work. And I'm going to pump on weekends in the morning and evening. Even though I'm stressing about not pumping enough milk, I know formula is a great thing when a baby is hungry and needs to eat. I hate it but it is very useful.

With my first son I didn't have enough pumped milk. But I had a decent freezer stash. So he didn't need formula supplements till almost 6 months old. I tried to think of it as his first food. But it ate me up. I don't think I pumped in the morning or evening but I did try herbs and dopermine (misspelled). The dopermine did help but not much else.

With my daughter I had to supplement even earlier (4/5 months). She didn't eat as much on the boob as my son did (he loved to nurse, anytime/anywhere) and I think that hurt my supply. And when I got preg with my third, I couldn't keep nursing through the pregnancy like I did with her. So she switched to formula around 7 months.

Good luck to you!
Sounds like you are doing everything people usually recommend.
post #11 of 17
It looks like you've gotten a lot of good advice. I was also just looking at this Kellymom.com page this morning:

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/p..._decrease.html

I hope you figure things out!
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you Mamas soooooo much for all the support!! It's been so crazy the past few days this is the first chance I've had to log on to MDC and reply.

I'm using 2 different pump in styles (a friend was kind enough to lend me one to leave at work). They seem to have good working motors....the suction is strong enough...I'm actually a little sore. I can really only pump one breast at a time....even though I have the bigger flanges, I still have problems with milk dripping back and breaking the suction. If I try to double pump, it happens every 2 minutes and I have to stop, wipe, adjust. Pumping one side at a time works out better, even though it takes a lot longer.

How much I get depends on how much time in between pupmings. I was pumping every 2 hours and getting 2 ounces. Today I was so worn out that I waited 4 hours and got 4 ounces, so it worked out to be the same, but much less frustrating to me.

I added pumping sessions before work (I'm doing the nurse-shower-pump routine) and after LO goes to bed, so that's helping. Yesterday I was able to send enough milk so that the babysitter didn't have to break into the freezer stash!! Today I'm not so sure. I think the babysitter is doing a good job with the feeding. She writes everything down and it's a similar pattern to how much she was nursing before I went to work. I think the problem is that the pump isn't as good at extracting milk as the baby is.

I'm hoping if I add pumping on the weekends and continue the fenugreek (I'm taking 3 capsules 3 times a day and 2 capsules of blessed thistle 3 times a day) that I will be able to continue EBF until she's ready for solids.

Thanks again everyone!!! I really, really appreciate it!!
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by feministmom View Post
Thank you Mamas soooooo much for all the support!! It's been so crazy the past few days this is the first chance I've had to log on to MDC and reply.

I'm using 2 different pump in styles (a friend was kind enough to lend me one to leave at work). They seem to have good working motors....the suction is strong enough...I'm actually a little sore. I can really only pump one breast at a time....even though I have the bigger flanges, I still have problems with milk dripping back and breaking the suction. If I try to double pump, it happens every 2 minutes and I have to stop, wipe, adjust. Pumping one side at a time works out better, even though it takes a lot longer.
I have this bustier for pumping at work and it works great.
http://www.easyexpressionproducts.com/

That way it frees up my hands for other things and holds the pumps in place, so I don't get drip back or anything.
post #14 of 17
Also keep in mind that your baby might reverse-cycle and start eating more from you at night if they are a little short during the day. Make sure your provider is holding the baby enough. She might be mistaking hunger signals for the baby's need to be held and cuddled. It takes so much longer to nurse than to finish a bottle.
post #15 of 17
One of my coworkers gave me the tip of getting situated with the pump and then hooking a regular nursing bra around it. It's not always perfect but I've gotten the hang of it and it seems to work with most of my nursing bras. In fact now I don't even unhook it all I just slip the horns in. A sports bra also works well this way for me. I had bought one pumping bra but I haven't used it since the first week.

I've been pumping for over 4 months now (went back to work when ds was 3 months old) and I didn't get as much at first as I do now. At first I was maybe getting 12 ounces between two sessions and now I have days where I get upwards of 18 ounces. Also I think in the beginning with the stress of going back to work and getting familiar with the pump it hurt my supply a little until I got used to it. I can still tell when I'm having a busy, stressful week at work since my output will be a little lower. Oddly enough I've found on days when I can manage to get a walk in on my lunch break I seem to have a boost in supply.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aerobrandi View Post

I've been pumping for over 4 months now (went back to work when ds was 3 months old) and I didn't get as much at first as I do now. At first I was maybe getting 12 ounces between two sessions and now I have days where I get upwards of 18 ounces. Also I think in the beginning with the stress of going back to work and getting familiar with the pump it hurt my supply a little until I got used to it. I can still tell when I'm having a busy, stressful week at work since my output will be a little lower. Oddly enough I've found on days when I can manage to get a walk in on my lunch break I seem to have a boost in supply.
That gives me hope, thank you!!!! I definitely think stress is a BIG part of it.....I'm a counselor for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, so work is pretty stressful! I need to relax a lot more, and get myself into the zone when I'm pumping.
post #17 of 17
I had the SAME problem when I first returned to work! I was in tears, worried that I would blow through my (small) freezer supply within my first month back to work.

There is hope!

I went back to work when my son was 11 weeks old (12 week maternity leave began on my due date, and he was a week late!), and quickly realized that I was not going to be able to keep up.

I hired a lactation consultant who made the best suggestion of all: rent a hospital grade/industrial pump! I'm using a Medela Lactina but I know there are others too. No matter what you are told, these are the ONLY pumps that will simulate the sucking of your baby enough so as not to diminish your supply once you return to work. Forget the stylish, portable Medela's (I was using one too ) The Lactina works quickly, too. I cut my pumping time in half when I switched to it after being back for 10 days.

My son is now 7 1/2 months old, I still work full time, and he is exclusively breastfed to this day. He didn't begin solids until he was 6 months old, either. I never thought I would be able to pull it off for this long. Needless to say, I am beyond ecstatic that I am still exclusively nursing.

The pump is key. Be sure to use it on the highest setting (your nipples will soon adjust to the extra "work") - this is critical.

I also pump as soon as I'm through feeding him in the morning (before I leave for work), as well as after I put him to bed at night, AND usually one more time before I go to bed.

Weekends are also key. Nurse as much as you can, and then try to pump after feedings when possible.

I hope this helps! GOOD LUCK!
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